header image

France's European and global role

Published: Friday, 14th November 2014

The Director’s Note following the recent Ditchley conference “France’s European and global role: can she lead?” is now published.

The starting point for the discussions was an attempt to disentangle realities from myths where France was concerned.  An excess of morosité exaggerated an economic situation which, though presenting many reform challenges, was no worse in some respects than that of some other EU member states. However there was no doubt that many people were increasingly frustrated with a lack of progress and were turning away from what they saw as an out of touch political elite and towards the Front National. This was worrying.

There was also concern about the absence of a clearly articulated French policy on Europe, and about the serious difficulties within the Franco-German relationship. Participants were in accord that urgent and serious efforts should be expended by both French and German governments on improving their bilateral dialogue.  It was also suspected that France’s position with regards to the UK had not been fully understood and that more bilateral discussions about how to prevent the UK exiting from Europe would be worthwhile.

In the wider world France was showing leadership and a continued preparedness to intervene, particularly in areas of traditional French presence.  It was thought that this was to the world’s advantage, even while there was some anxiety about how long she could maintain this position given her domestic difficulties and diminishing influence within the EU.

To read the full report click here.